Once your little bundle of amazing love is here, you’re going to want to spend all the time in the world with them. Unfortunately, our business takes us away on weekends. Weddings happen on Saturdays and sometimes Sundays. Friday weddings are starting to be more common but still not as common as the original Saturday wedding. Making family time a priority postpartum is something that a lot of photographers struggle with. You want to spend time with your family on the weekend (when the rest of the world isn’t working) but that’s when you make your money. You want to spend evenings with your family, but most couples don’t want to take time off work during the day for consults – so when do you meet clients? How do you balance family life with your career?
When it comes to people who work on the weekend (ie: US!) if you want to have family time on weekends, it’s not going to happen unless you make it happen. My advice for making family time a priority postpartum is to schedule it into your calendar the same way you would schedule an engagement session or a wedding. Whenever you schedule a “Family Day” that’s a day when you don’t turn on your computer, don’t accept consultations and don’t shoot any sessions.
Some people will make Sunday their “Family Day” while others will make Sunday a family day but make the exception for 1 Sunday for work per month. Others book off a full weekend once a month or once every two weeks. Others simply accept a maximum number of weddings per month.
Whatever you decide works best for you is what the right answer is.
Personally, I prefer the idea of keeping Sunday as family day with the exception of 1 Sunday per month. The reason I like this is that it’s planned. I know in advance that Sundays are generally the days I’m free for dinners, dates at the park or just plain ol’ fashioned hangouts with the family. By knowing that Sunday is my “family day” I can also put this into my literature and I can discuss it with clients, especially when it comes to things like booking engagement sessions. Being able to say to clients “Engagement sessions typically take place on the weekdays as our weekends are fully booked. While the occasional Sunday may be available, it’s best to book during the week.” helps establish boundaries and manage expectations. You still need time for your family. Your child deserves time with both parents together and not just one of you at a time.
Managing time is difficult; it’s not a task I envy. I am still struggling with finding my work life balance while being a mom and making family time a priority postpartum has been difficult because even though I’m a mom now, I am no less of an entrepreneur. But if you take away nothing else from this article, take away this: you run your business – your clients don’t run your business; they are a part of it but they don’t get to call the shots. You’re allowed to set your work hours and you’re allowed to set your boundaries as to when your time is for your family and when your time is for work. Your family will always be a priority in your heart, but you need to make sure that you place priority on your family when it comes to your business too.